HARRY J. COOPER / 1917-2007
PR specialist promoted Hawaii around the world
Harry J. Cooper brought 20 years of public relations experience and a passion for travel when he was named executive director of the Aloha Week Festival in 1979.
He took the annual festival on the road, taking the Aloha Week court and Hawaiian entertainers to Asia, Europe and the mainland to promote Hawaii tourism. Later he was an organizer of the Festival of the Pacific, bringing cultural exhibits and entertainment from other countries for the Honolulu event.
"He was a natural when it came to organizing events and festivals," said Paulie Jennings, executive of the World Invitational Hula Festival. "He supported Hawaiian cultural events, art and education."
As a public relations man, "He had the most phenomenal imagination and came up with some amazing ideas," Jennings said.
Cooper, 90, of Hawaii Kai, died Oct. 23.
One of Cooper's public relations creations put him in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1973 he circled the globe on commercial airline flights in 36 hours, 19 minutes and 33 seconds, a new record that lasted at least a couple of years, said his son, Brad Cooper.
"He was working for the greeting card industry, and it was to mark the 100th anniversary of greeting cards. He mailed cards from every stop. He was proud of the record because it was by commercial flights. Someone else set a record but did it by charter flights."
Cooper visited 127 countries during his lifetime of travel and was a member of the Travelers Century Club.
Before coming to Hawaii in 1979, he had worked for several airlines, including Air Canada and British Airways, and held public relations positions with the International Association of Lions Clubs and the U.S. relief agency CARE. He was assistant to the president of American Field Services in New York and was director of the UNICEF greeting card program.
As American Field Service representative for Hawaii, he promoted the program of American families hosting foreign students.
He was a past district governor of Lions Clubs International and past president of the Canadian Club of Hawaii.
Cooper was born in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. He attended Queens University in Ontario and Northwestern University.
He is survived by son Bradley, daughters Sandra Phillips of Oregon and Deeju Macleod of Toronto, and brother Cameron Cooper of Las Vegas.
No memorial services are planned.